Jazz was born on the lake just as it was in the city.
The introduction to the National Public Radio Review of the 20th Century's most important American musical works begins, "It
was a lakeside summer spot in New Orleans that inspired the song that would become one of the world's great Jazz masterpieces.
West End Blues was a sleepy southern blues tune written by Joe "King" Oliver, until it came into the hands of trumpeter
Louis Armstrong...in the late 1920's...and changed musical history."
Other local musicians who
impacted music history and memorialized Lake Pontchartrain include: Leon Roppolo who began performing in Bucktown at age eleven
and later formed the New Orleans Rhythm Kings who recorded Milenburg Joys in 1923; The great Ferdinand (Jelly Roll) Morton
who wrote "Pontchartrain" (recorded in 1930) and recorded "Bucktown Blues” in 1924; The New Orleans Owls
who recorded “Sailing on Lake Pontchartrain” and "West End Romp" in mid 1920’s
New Orleans jazz was heard at Milneburg where Buddy Bolden, the “Father of Jazz” as well as Sidney Bechet, Johnny
Stein, Albert and George Brunies, Tony Parenti, Nick La Rocca, and Danny Barker played. Venues in Milneburg included Morgan's
Saloon, the Joy Club, Romer's Café, The Inn, Quarella’s, Nick's Restaurant, The Lighthouse, fishing camps, dance
halls, band stands, restaurants, roadhouses, picnics, and saloons. Spanish Fort’s most notable Jazz venues were Tranchina's
Hotel Restaurant and Tokyo Garden where A. J. Piron’s orchestra played from about 1918 until 1923.
Brown, who claimed to be the first person to use the word “Jass”, performed on the lakefront as well as on excursion
steamers to the north shore. The Moonlight Serenaders, led by Alcide (Yellow) Nunez, played in Milneburg and Little Woods.
Trumpeter Gustave Joseph (Sharkey) Bonano was born in Milneburg in 1898. The Halfway House Orchestra took its name from the
dancehall so named because it was located halfway between the city and the lake on the New Basin Canal.
Little Woods at Mama Lou's Herb Morand, Richard “Rabbit” Brown, and Louis “Kid Shots” Madison performed.
During the 1940’s, a group of teenagers which included Frank Assunto, his brother Fred, and Pete Fountain played there
for free meals – they would later be known as the Dukes of Dixieland.